The Northern Cambria girls volleyball team prefers playing on a big stage.

That much was evident Tuesday during the District 6 champion Colts’ one-sided victory over District 7 fourth-place Our Lady of Sacred Heart.

Northern Cambria won 25-17, 25-7, 25-17 in a PIAA Class A playoff game at Central Cambria High. Our Lady of Sacred Heart finished 15-3.

“They play better in big games,” said Northern Cambria coach Mike Hogan, whose 22-0 Colts are among the final eight Class A programs in the state. “They like the big-game setting. A coach doesn’t give them that. Their parents do. They instill that inside them. They like being in front of a big crowd. That gets them going.”

Last season, the Colts placed second in the state. Now, Northern Cambria has an opportunity to take another step during this weekend’s PIAA Championships at York.

“I think our team is kind of primed for the trip and I think they’re playing pretty solid right now,” Hogan said. “We’re looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead.

“The experience from last year is a tremendous help. You’ve got seven seniors on this team. The first day of practice, they were doing it all. That’s a nice setting for a coach to walk into. You’ve got kids that are leaders. When the chips are down, they know how it’s going to be. I give those kids a lot of credit.”

The Northern Cambria seniors are outside hitters Ashley Hogan and Sara Hoover, setters Jaci Jones and Jess Valeria, middles Jen Hassen and Christy Rocco, and libero Shayna Butterworth.

The Colts had plenty of support from a large crowd of students and Northern Cambria fans who cheered, chanted and wore a sea of black and gold.

“A small town,” Hogan said. “It’s great. The people get behind you. We brought two student buses and this is only 20 minutes away. It’d be a good time to steal something in Barnesboro. I don’t think there’s anybody there right now.”

Mike Mastovich can be reached at 532-5083 or

Recommended for you